It’s a funny moment, metaphysically speaking. The millions who still believe Satan walks the earth tend to be Trump supporters, while his liberal haters come up with only psychological or political explanations for the peculiar way the president has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. But let’s suppose for the hell of it that, rather than seeking to contain the virus and secure Americans’ lives and wealth, the president’s true purpose, perhaps unknown even to his mortal self, is to sow death, disorder, and despair, like Lucifer himself.

So, contrary to the best advice of scientists and public-health officials, Trump discourages mask-wearing; urges people to gather in stadiums and re-populate confined spaces such as restaurants, offices, and schools; hoards P.P.E.; and opposes testing, to the point of closing several federal testing sites. He even withdraws the U.S. from the World Health Organization. (We can dismiss his scripted and grudging concession, on July 21, to mask-wearing as an anxious reaction to his plunging re-election prospects.)